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Voters Like Democrats But Think They Are Incompetent

By: Thursday October 23, 2014 2:44 pm

GOP Has Edge on Some Major Issues,  But Image Woes PersistOn a personal level the American people just seem to like the Democratic party better than the Republican party. Not only does the Democratic party have better favorable numbers than the Republican party; but according to Pew Research register voters also see Democrats as the more ethical party, the party more willing to work across the aisle to get things done, and the party most concerned about regular people.

Yet Democrats are about to suffer a significant defeat this year because the public thinks they are incompetent. Republicans are seen able to do a better job on almost all the major issues and are viewed as more capable of running the federal government. By far, the biggest issue with voters this election is the economy. On that issue, Republicans have a six-point advantage among registered over the Democrats.

This is a sign that at a fundamental level the election is about the President, even when he is not directly part of the race. The impression that Democratic party is less capable at managing the federal government comes primarily from voters watching how President Obama has managed the government. Similarly, on issues like immigration or dealing with foreign terrorist organizations Obama has created a big executive void and the Democratic party as a whole is being judge based on how these executive actions from Obama have worked out.

I consider this to once again be a vindication of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) political strategy. Blanket obstructionism did make the Republican party look bad, appear uncaring, and got them labeled uncooperative. It  also, though, made the President look incompetent as he failed to achieve some of his legislative goals and forcing him to rely on complicated executive actions to get around the lack of simple legislative fixes. On net it seems it was politically worth it.

In The Prince, Machiavelli advised it is safer to be feared than loved. In American politics it seems it is better to be seen as competent than liked.

Scott Brown Is Proof All Politics Is Now National

By: Thursday October 23, 2014 11:21 am

Scott Brown campaigning in New Hampsher since he lost last time in Massachsetts

There is no better sign that our federal politics are becoming dominated by strong coherent parties than the unusual career of Republicans Scott Brown. He was elected senator in Massachusetts during a special election but lost in the next general. After looking around for other offices to run for in the state, he decided to move to New Hampshire and started his run for Senate there immediately.

If voters are most concerned about finding aggressive advocates for local concerns, Scott Brown would be a lousy choice over incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. He has barely lived in New Hampshire. He doesn’t have a long history as part of the local political or business scene. There is no way he could have developed that deep base of knowledge and connections to instinctively know how small legislative changes will impact the communities.

On the other hand, if what voters really care about is which political party controls the government to push for broad ideological goals, Scott Brown is a great choice. He knows how the Senate works. His seniority will transfer over if he is elected. He has proven he could be a reliably team player and can work well with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell implementing Republican tactics.

The recent polling from New Hampshire shows it is the latter which is dominating the race. Multiple new polls show Brown trailing incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen by roughly two points. That is exactly where you would expect the race to stand if they only important factor for most voters was political party. New Hampshire is a swing state the leans blue, but this is a bad election climate for Democrats. President Obama won New Hampshire with 52 percent the vote in 2012, but since then his job approval rating in the state has dropped significantly.

New Poll Gives Republicans Eight Point Lead in Generic Ballot Due to Low Democratic Turnout

By: Wednesday October 22, 2014 9:58 am

The news for Democrats is not looking good. The latest AP-GfK poll found Republicans with an eight point lead in the generic ballot among likely voters. This is the largest lead for Republicans in any generic ballot poll this year.

If the election was held today 32 percent of likely voters would back the Democratic candidate in their district while 40 percent would back the Republican candidate.

Similarly, the poll found only 39 percent of likely voters would prefer to see the Democratic party control of congress while 47 percent want to see it won by Republicans.

What is killing Democrats is low turnout from their potential voters. Among all registered voters Democrats are only losing the generic ballot by 3 points and tied when it comes to which party people want to see win control of Congress.

If Democratic field operations can drive turnout to unexpected levels they could theoretically improve their chances in several important races, but that is a very big if with the President unpopular, a relatively low stakes election, and enthusiasm so lacking.

For Conservatives It Is all About Fox News

By: Tuesday October 21, 2014 10:18 am

The number of places conservatives in this country get their news is remarkably narrow and consists mainly of Fox News, and to a small degree talk radio. From Pew: In addition, while Liberals and Mixed tend to trust all the other major news networks (CNN, ABC News, NBC News and CBS News) except Fox News, [...]

Hating the Other Party Really Drives Turnout

By: Friday October 17, 2014 3:37 pm

Hate is a great motivator in American politics. The more regular voters dislike the opposing political party, the more likely they are to actually vote. According to Pew Research, 49 percent of Republicans or Republican-leaning voters are likely to vote this year; but among those who hold a very unfavorable view of the Democratic party, 65 [...]

People of Kentucky Apparently Just Realized They’ve Been Voting Republican for Decades

By: Friday October 17, 2014 9:44 am

This chart shows why the DSCC’s decision to pull out of the Kentucky Senate race was inevitable for months. From Gallup: Remarkably, until just last year a plurality of people in Kentucky considered themselves leaning-Democrat even though they have not supported a Democrat for President or Senate in roughly two decades and the state has [...]

Many Americans Are Weirdly Indifferent About How the Federal Government Is Controlled

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 10:45 am

This is a poll answer that has always confused me. Apparently a plurality of Americans, 37 percent, still thinks it makes no difference if the federal government is controlled by one party or is divided. From Gallup: I find this so perplexing because I don’t know how you could have watched the past six years [...]

Democrats’ Engagement Problem

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 2:39 pm

Polling shows Democrats lead Republicans for control of Congress with registered voters but not with likely voters.

Georgia Poll is one Bright Spot in a Day of Bad News for Democrats

By: Wednesday October 15, 2014 10:33 am

The good news today for democrats is that Michelle Nunn has taken a lead in the latest SurveyUSA poll of the Georgia Senate race. Among likely voters she is getting 48 percent, Republican David Perdue is at 45 percent, and Libertarian Amanda Swafford stands at three percent. This is a four point improvement for Nunn [...]

Republicans Have Edge on Most Big Issues

By: Monday October 13, 2014 9:52 am

The bad news for Democrats keeps coming. New data from Gallup shows the Republican party has the advantage among the issues voters care most about this year.

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